November 1, 2012 BY John Kim
With seconds to go and the game tied at 86, the ball ended up in Michael’s hands. There was no doubt the shot attempt was Jordan’s to take; he had already hit a buzzer-beating game-winner in Game 1, and his massive scoring output throughout the series (Michael had scored at 31, 39 and 38 points in the Bulls’ three wins) was enough reason for Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz to put the utmost pressure on Jordan. Michael received the ball on the left wing (nearly the same spot where he hit the game-winner in Game 1), drove left against Bryon Russell, drew a double-team from John Stockton, and made a pass to Steve Kerr, who was open at the top of the key, roughly 17 feet from the hoop.
Earlier in that Series, Michael attempted a similar move, but Stockton ended up stealing the ball. This time around, Jordan adapted and made the pass to Kerr, one of Jordan’s most trusted teammates, and hit nothing but the bottom of the net. Before that play went down, Kerr said to Michael “If [Stockton] comes off, i’ll be ready.” Steve was, and with just seconds left on the clock, the Jazz failed to make an attempt. Jordan’s pass to Kerr is considered to be one of Michael’s greatest plays of his career because it displayed an offensive awareness and a trust in his teammates (which Michael had a tough time with throughout his career). Even during the Championship parade and ceremony in Chicago, Kerr spoke of the play and joked that he had to “bail Michael out again”. Kerr, of course, continued his career and won two more Championships with San Antonio, retired as the most accurate three-point shooter in history with a .454 percentage, and went on to serve in the front office for the Phoenix Suns.
Filed under: Air Jordan